Behind the scenes of Girls on Hills there are wonderful brands and special people helping us make our events happen! We work only with the brands we use and love; those which we can wholeheartedly recommend to our customers. We don't get paid to recommend products - we believe in them and they believe in us!
Last weekend was our Trail Skills for Ultrarunners course with Nicky Spinks. It was our fifth year of running this event and, as ever, it was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend spent celebrating women in ultrarunning! - learning new skills, making new friends and bringing new aspirations to life!
Each year we put together a wee goodie bag for participants. This year we totted-up the items and found it reached a whopping RRP of £65pp - so we want to take this opportunity to highlight all those brands who contributed and show you how they have suported us this year.
First of all a massive thank you to our Girls on Hills coach, Nicky Spinks! Each year Nicky supports our courses, working closely with us on ultra running and mountain running in Scotland. She is a valued part of our team and a constant source of inspiration. Many of our runners have purchased bespoke coaching plans or benefited from her expertise on the hill (we already have 2024 dates for Arran Mountain Running with Nicky, open for booking)! We look forward to following her training journey for the Spine Race and to hearing all about it when we join Nicky at the National Running Show the weekend after.
The first practical session on our ultra weekend was Running with Poles from Mountain King. We love these poles for their simplicity and incredibly low weight (we think the Skyrunners are the lightest on the market!) Made in the UK, they are produced close to home and the company are brilliant at repairing/replacing any damaged parts, so you don't need a whole new set of poles if the worst happens. Mountain King have been top supporters of Girls on Hills for years and are partners in our upcoming Running with Poles online workshop on Zoom (7th November 7:30pm), which is open to everyone. We've winterised it this year, to show how important poles can be in the winter environment...
On Saturday night, our runners enjoyed a guided night run led by Girls on Hills with the support of Petzl - providing a pool of demo torches for runners to try out. This is a great way to see how a product feels on your head when you run and how it performs in practice. Everyone had an opinon about what they liked best and what worked for them! Night running is not only a fun exercise but a key skill for many longer ultras. We covered topics like maximising burn time, conserving battery, headlamp modes, impact on pace/injury risk and strategy for support/scheduling of night-phases on long distance challenges. Empowering women to feels safe and confident running at night is the focus of a current campaign from This Girl Can - looking at culture, calling-out behaviours, planning and the importance of community. In the Scottish Highlands, other important factors include remoteness and the ability to navigate in darkness. Check-out our winter Night Navigation courses if you're interested, or our Petzl Night Run, as part of the Fort William Mountain Festival in February 2024.
We owe a massive thank you to the brilliant Harrier trail running, who have supported us with survival bags and buffs for our goodie bags, as well as this year donating a Harrier running vest as a prize (congratulations Lucy!) We met Kate before she started Harrier and have been thrilled to see the success of her home-grown business - and we just love the company ethos! We're proud to be speaking in the Harrier Trail Zone at the upcoming National Running Show in January 2024, so pop along to see us at the Birmingham NEC - and watch this space for more information and speaker announcements!
Another of our sponsors is SILVA global, the lead partner on all our navigation skills courses. This weekend each attendee received a toty wee pocket compass and a whopping 30% off discount code! Alongside partners, Harvey Maps (who also gave our runners a 30% off code this weekend) we put together an interactive and fun navigation workshop to help break barriers and correct misconceptions about navigating with map and compass. This was led by our run guide and mountain leader Raeanne. If you fancy joining in, course dates for SILVA Night Navigation and Navigation Skills 101 can be found via our website.
Our recent goodie bags also contained a month free Explorer trial and branded buffs from FATMAP (now part of the Strava family!), as well as some magic jellies from Mountain Fuel and tasty jam from our pals at the Gin Bothy.
FATMAP is a great way to record and track your runs in the mountains, as well as plan safe adventures and visualise your route in 3D. You simply have to try it to believe what the overlays can do! Try the free app (see app store) to see why we love it and subscribe to Explore if you want worldwide maps offline.
"I've been supercharging my skyraces with Mountain Fuel jellies since 2018. The cola/caffeine ones are like rocket-fuel for me. I don't know how they do it but they get me out of a slump every time without fail!" - Keri Wallace, 3rd F in the UK Skyrunning Series 2023
Every year, the Gin Bothy supports our popular Bothy Runs with gin that is infused with botanicals from the Scottish Highlands. As a female-led business (and producer of awesome award-wining jam, made form Scottish fruit!), we were delighted to include their Strawberry and Champagne jam in our goodie bags this year - of course our runners had it on our toast for breakfast! If you'd like to combine fast-packing with gin-tasting, check-out our 2024 Bothy Run (Corrour) dates, sponsored by the Gin Bothy and Hostelling Scotland (raising money for the Mountain Bothies Association).
Each runner on our ultra weekend received their own pair of totally bonkers but super affordable and practical Goodr sunglasses. Our personal favourites are the Swedish Meatball Hangover and the Phoneix at a Bloody Mary Bar! How about you?
And last, but very definitely not least, our goodie bags included a few snippets from an upcoming collaborator and outrageous local talent, Lilli at Discover and Draw.
We can't say more at this time but we can advise you to keep an eye on our shop over the next few weeks for Girls on Hills inspired gems (sshhhhh....)
We are grateful to Chris and his team at Carnoch House (Glencoe Outdoor Centre) for their assistance and friendly hospitality each year - the ideal cosy venue for us year upon year.
We'd like to give a special thanks all the skills experts who contributed to our weekend. We love working with Mariam Kilpatrick at Physio Effect, Jill Stephen at Ascent Fitness and Penny Clay at Mountain Yoga Kinlochleven, who provided injury prevention, strength and conditioning and yoga for runners respectively. We also recommend checking out the Online Nutrition Program for Ultra Runners from Rebecca Dent. Many of these brilliant athletes and professionals can offer suport online, so have a click through these links for more info!
Without our favourite brands and delivery partners, our annual Trail Skills for Ultrarunners course just wouldn't be the same - so a MASSIVE thank you from all the Girls on Hills team.
If you would like to join us next year, we recommend you get in there early and book your spot for Trail Skills for Ultrarunners with Nicky Spinks, Nov 1st -3rd 2024.
"The most fantastic adventure filled weekend! Can't recommend enough if you're looking to build confidence, meet like-minded amazing people and learn new skills for the hills!" - Annie, 2023